BMX racer, Mariana Pajón has been in the UK checking out the circuit for next year's Olympics. Tim Sturtridge caught up with the Colombian to check on her progress in the build-up to London 2012.
It was not just the weather that put a dampener on Mariana Pajón’s first visit to the BMX Circuit that will be used at the 2012 Olympic Games.
The Colombian teenager is hoping for gold next year but had to settle for eighth place at the BMX Supercross World Cup meeting in London at the weekend.
It was a disappointing end to a month that started with Mariana being crowned with the UCI BMX World Championship title in Copenhagen.
The World Championship win took Mariana’s tally to 14 titles since she first started riding competitively at nine-years-old.
After the race in Copenhagen it was clear that winning more competitions was the only thing on Mariana’s mind.
“I felt like I got my quickest start ever and I just kept telling myself that this is my year, my turn to win.”
Mariana proved in Denmark why she is ranked as the number one Women’s Elite rider in the world. Sadly however, a crash in London prevented her from maintaining her winning streak.
Things seemed to going so well as Mariana recorded the quickest time on the opening day in London as she flew around the purpose built track in 39.62 seconds. Reaching a place in the final alongside the seven best riders in the world was a formality for the Colombian.
It was in the final that disaster struck and Mariana was stretchered off the circuit after crashing.
The BMX World Cup race was won by British rider Shanaze Reade in an impressive time of 38.28 seconds. Despite celebrating a home win Shanaze was also sympathetic to what happened to Mariana..
“I’m happy with the win, but for the females the track is on the limit when the wind changes. It’s fantastic we all came through and the British crowd were great, but there’s a little work to be done.”
The circuit starts with an eight-metre ramp followed by a series of rollers, jumps and tightly banked corners. The women’s course goes under a tunnel while the men’s features an extra jump.
Even if Mariana missed out on the perfect result in London there were still plenty of positives to take out of the weekend. Her coach Germán Medina was happy to have a look at next year’s Olympic circuit as well as see Mariana clock up even more ranking points.
“We got the chance to check things out and it was a great experience to come here. Most importantly of all Mariana will be okay after the fall. Also Mariana got enough ranking points to make sure she stays as the number one rider in the world.”
Mariana herself was also philosophical after the race even though she understands the pressure on her to do well.
“Even though I go into every race hoping to win it’s not always possible. I know that I’m the best chance Colombia has to win a gold medal at next year’s Olympics so I have to work hard and regain my belief. Whatever happens I know I will always enjoy racing.”
Mariana’s riding often defies gravity so even if she has gone up and then come down we know it won’t be long before she’s flying high again.